ASST. A&E EDITOR
Whittier College students were given on-campus entertainment in the form of KPOET’s K-CHELLA Music Festival on April 5. The grassy area of the Upper Quad, usually heavily trafficked by students to and from class, was surrounded by a tall chain link fence and featured an intimate stage for the six musical performances. The towering rock climbing wall, tie-dye booth, musicians, and other attractions brought over 200 people to the festival throughout the day, each receiving a K-CHELLA wristband upon entrance.
Attendance of the event started slow because people were in their morning classes. However, the first band, The Invention of Sound, gave a heavy performance to the few people milling around the designated festival grounds and could surely be heard across campus. They kicked off K-CHELLA in style, donning suits even though the sun, occasionally peeking out from behind the clouds, was unbearably strong in the otherwise mellow weather.
Though few people approached the stage, those checking out the tie-dye and bracelet-making stations, or just roaming around, were nodding their heads and tapping their toes to the beat vibrating the ground. “This place [Whittier College] is great,” said The Invention of Sound’s drummer John Boell. “I want my first show under like my name to be here, because how great of an experience I’ve had playing here.”
The Invention of Sound was followed by melodic punk band, Gone to Ground, which features Whittier College’s own Technical Coordinator and co-Faculty Advisor for KPOET Chris Greenwood on vocals and guitar. Their music could also be heard reverberating around campus. “I think these are the best venues,” said Greenwood. “[On] college campuses, there’s actually a want for music and entertainment and stuff — specially [on] a dormed campus, where a lot of people don’t have a lot of transportation or they live here, so this is their home, and when are you going to bring the entertainment home.”
Despite this, the crowd was a little over a dozen people for the majority of the first half of the day. “I’d love to have more events like this,” said first-year D Garcia as she carefully pumped syrup onto her snow cone. “The problem is that people don’t turn out, but we have so much cool stuff going on on-campus, and it’s really dope.” Attendance did pick up as more students’ classes ended while the earliest bands were still giving their best performances to the students already present.
Tomorrow’s Tessellations — which plays on campus often; for more on Tomorrow’s Tessellations visit thequakercampus.org — was a highlight of the event. Despite the majority of the band unable to make K-CHELLA due to conflicting schedules, frontman of Tomorrow’s Tessellations Tino Venti, and Noah Lee, a solo musician known as Lentebloom, gave what can only be called a lighthearted half-comedy act, half-soft indie rock performance that made the best out of an unfortunate situation.
Their set was punctuated by them cartwheeling across the Upper Quad stage and through the K-CHELLA grounds, leaving the slowly-growing crowd of students confused, intrigued, and, for some, slightly irritated by the rough 45-minute set that was peppered with smooth rock, Italian disco, and the occasional air horn sound effects. “[Tomorrow’s Tessellations]’s comedic set was a surprise and a breath of fresh air into indie music,” said second-year Riley Ramirez. “However, their extended use of [comedy] led to their set feeling rushed, unprepared, and overall not impassioned, which is contrary to their very charismatic stage presence.”
However, the day picked up as the band Lucys slowed things down. Until this point, K-CHELLA was mostly filled with students checking out the various activities and snacks, hands stained with tie-dye and snow cones. Now, people were beginning to take seats on the grass, slowly swaying in front of the band. The lead singer, Alexis, or, as he jokingly referred to himself, ‘Where’s Waldo,’ due to his striped shirt, gave a vocally raw performance that completely overshadowed the technical difficulties they faced, allowing students to immerse themselves in their smooth-flowing music.
The first headliner, Katzù Ozo, brought people to their feet. The L.A. local’s bilingual performance had the handful of students present crowding around the stage to dance to the rhythm that flooded the campus. It was impossible not to be enthralled by the performer; at one point, he even jumped down from the stage to join those he drew to K-CHELLA. Attendance peaked during Katzù Ozo’s hands-on set, but a number of students remained seated on the now popcorn-littered grass for the last band of K-CHELLA.
TV Girl strayed from the indie style of the previous bands to bring a more pop sound to campus. In a moment of unintended humor, while the band crooned about a girl’s cigarette addiction, the person manning their merch table let out a puff of smoke in the background. Perhaps the most memorable part of their set was when they interrupted themselves to bring out a bouquet of roses and give a speech about the cheapness and brevity of love, which somehow earned applause and a few “preaches” from the crowd. However, they ended K-CHELLA on a sweeter note by handing out the roses to students that approached them after their set.
The activities of K-CHELLA ranged from making your own bracelet to taking on the robotic surfboard to witnessing almost every band reference “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X at least once. Whichever of these activities drew students to the festival, K-CHELLA offered a chance to kick back before the last month of the Spring semester begins. If you missed this opportunity, don’t worry. “Students can definitely look forward to K-CHELLA next year,” said KPOET Event Coordinator second-year Kris Berardi. “We really want to improve on this year’s event. We really want to listen to the students to find out what they want for the event next year.”